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COVID-19 Updated School Guidelines

January 7, 2022

The Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) have updated the COVID-19 quarantining and isolation guidelines to align better with general population guidelines but that still hold differences specifically related to schools. 

Searcy School District will begin following these guidelines starting Monday, January 10th. Again, we strongly encourage vaccination as it better protects against serious illness and hospitalization. New guidelines state that anyone 18 years of age or older is not considered fully vaccinated unless the individual has received all recommended doses, which includes the booster. We will continue to keep our families, staff members, and patrons informed as we continue to receive health guidance. We want to remind you that if your child is showing signs & symptoms of COVID-19 (headache, runny nose, sore throat, cough), please do not send your child to school.

Please read the updated definitions of isolation & quarantine below if your child is identified as one of these. Or if a member of your family is identified as one of these, please abide by these definitions.

Updated Definitions


Isolation is required for someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. This person is required to: 

  • Stay home for at least 5 days.

  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house (return to school).

  • Continue to wear a mask around others through the 10th day of isolation. 

Quarantine/Probable Close Contact

Any individual who has likely been within 3 feet for 15 cumulative minutes or longer within a 24-hour period of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.

  • Wear a well-fitting mask through the 10th day after contact with a person who has COVID-19.

  • Anyone who has a medical waiver and is unable to wear a mask must continue to quarantine for 10 full days.

  • Monitor for symptoms, and if symptoms occur, self-isolate and get tested.

Who Should Quarantine?

If you are considered a close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if you are in one of the following groups:

  • You are ages 18 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccine, but have not received the recommended booster shot when eligible.

  • You are ages 18 or older and received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine (completing the primary series) over 2 months and have not received the recommended booster dose.

  • You are not vaccinated or have not completed the primary vaccine series.

Who Does Not Need to Quarantine?

If you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine:

  • You are ages 18 and older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including booster and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.

  • You are ages 5-17 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (PCR or Antigen Test)

Student Activity Participation

An individual who has completed at least 5 full days of at-home isolation or quarantine may participate in school-sponsored activities provided they are able to properly mask during that activity for the remainder of the 10 day isolation or quarantine period.

  • Interscholastic athletic activities may be subject to additional health and safety protocols adopted by the Arkansas Activities Association.